A Woman’s Work

Is there still a distinction between women’s work and men’s? Today’s NY times op-ed by Linda Hirshman suggests that there is. Hirschman claims that President-elect Obama’s plan to create new jobs will only benefit men if he focuses solely on infrastructure and engineering. Hirschman’s observation that women continue to pursue human oriented professions, such as teaching and social work, doesn’t seem to be shifting very much if my students are any indication, though I do encounter a number of female students who are pre-med and pre-law as well. Are women socialized into professions that require human engagement or are these students simply persuing what they are interested in? Probably a bit of both. I do hope, along with Hirschman, that some of the new administration’s job creation money is put into libraries and schools, not necessarily because women work there, but because these institutions are as crucial to our survival as roads and bridges.